Every year at this time we hear the same message: Get back to some sort of fitness routine. We see sales on gym memberships, exercise clothes, and equipment. It’s time to take it seriously, the marketers say. We’re told to make a resolution for the new year.
While all of this is a good thing, it’s a shame that the push is mostly at the dawn of a new year and highly commercial. The recommendation is a good one for the entire year.
Oddly enough, though, the message just doesn’t get through. Everyone, by now, has read about or heard about the incredible benefits of exercise. Yet, now we have some of the most compelling proof to date.
Mandy Oaklander quotes Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky, a genetic metabolic neurologist in Time Magazine, “As time goes on, paper after paper after paper show that the most effective potent way that we can improve quality of life and duration of life is exercise.”
The article continues to describe a study by Dr. Tarnopolsky in which mice with a genetic disease that causes early degeneration were put into two groups. One was sedentary for five months while the other mice were put on tiny treadmills.
What the researchers found was that, even with the genetic disease, the mice who exercised were indistinguishable from the healthy mice. The ones who sat around had heart problems, loss of hair and muscle mass, and “were shivering in the corner about to die.”
Doctors have found many positive changes occur in the blood after exercise. Oaklander also writes in the same article that The National Institute of Health is planning a study this year to prove the hypothesis that exercise is real medicine. They will examine the blood, fat, and muscle of 3,000 sedentary people of all ages before and after they exercise. A control group that stays sedentary will also be examined.
She also writes that:
“only 20% of people get the recommended 150 minutes of strength and cardiovascular physical activity per week, more than half of all baby boomers report doing no exercise whatsoever, and 80.2 million Americans over age 6 are entirely inactive.”
These are (or should be) very troubling statistics. Humans often see problems elsewhere, but fail to see it in their own lives. We might think we do an “okay” job of exercising and believe those numbers apply to others. Yet, the reality is most us are not exercising nearly enough.
If you’ve ever wanted a better motivator to get moving, this might be it! Oaklander writes, “It’s becoming evident that nearly everyone—young, old, pregnant, ill—benefits from exercise.”
We’ve reported in an earlier newsletter how exercise benefits telomeres, the protection on the end of our chromosomes. Recent research strongly affirms this idea. Exercise extends our life. We should move, not out of a sense of doing a chore, but to make our bodies function well and slow the aging process. Let’s all get back in shape for the new year, but let’s stay in shape for the next.
Doctor Cure Thyself
Just as with majority of people I know, I tend to be inconsistent with my exercise routine. I mostly walk, run, bike, and swim. Yet, when life gets complicated or things get in the way, excuses come up, and I fall off my plan. I turn lazy and stop exercising for a period of time.
I have known for years (and you’ve heard me say it) that exercise has many benefits and can reduce pain levels and improve health markers. Yet, the article referenced here is pretty amazing. It has motivated me to get back into an exercise program and be more consistent with my exercise. While I have seen that my patients who exercise do much better than the ones who don’t, now I realize also that exercise extends your life.
This should be the best motivation for all of us.
Yet, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Just a moderate amount of exercise, working in the yard and other chores can make a huge difference in how our bodies and our minds function.
I’ve been prescribing exercise to my patients for my entire career, and I am pleased to read that the medical establishment is now jumping on the band wagon. The upcoming NIH study is likely to bring our professions (M. D’s and Chiropractors) a great deal of evidence-based support for the position that exercise is real medicine.
So, get some good shoes, carve out some time for yourself to move, and make it sacred. The newest research tells us that our lives depend on it.
Also, we can’t forget that we live in the probably the only place in the nation where you can go outside and comfortably walk or bike in the sunshine in January. Plus, Florida has a bunch of State and National parks. No need for a gym membership.
Free exercise consultation with any service.
Simply let the front desk know when scheduling your appointment and they will book you a few extra minutes.